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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

October 2021


October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2021


April 25, 2021  "Love Actually, Part II: Love in Action" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 18, 2021  "Love Actually, Part I: Love and Family" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

Easter, April 4, 2021  "How Does It End?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2021


March 28, 2021  "The King We Weren't Expecting" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 14, 2021  "The Cure for Snake Bite" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2021


February 28, 2021  "Are you Kidding, God?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 14, 2021  "Premature Joy" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 7, 2021  "Need a Liftt?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

January 2021


January 31, 2021  "Are You God's Prophet?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 24, 2021  "God's Annoying Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 10, 2021  "Light to See" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 3, 2021  "The Outsiders' Perspective" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2020


December 24, 2020  "Light in the Darkness" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 20, 2020  "Are you a Royal?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 6, 2020  "While You're Waiting..." by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2020


November 15, 2020  "Accepting Your Mission" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 1, 2020  "The Hope of the Saints" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2020


October 18, 2020  "Whose Image Do You Bear?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 11, 2020  "Righteous Clothing" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2020


September 13, 2020  "The Circle of Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

October 3, 2021

“SSPC Values Part 1:  Glorify God” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, October 3, 2021 Year B Pentecost 17 (Proper 22, Ordinary 27):  Psalm 22:21b-31  •  John 15:1-11

THEME:  Glorify God through discipleship motivated by love.

 

I’m not sure how it happened, but sometime in my mid-20s, I became a Francophile.  That’s a fancy way of saying that I became infatuated with all things French.  When I was living in New York, I took a course in French.  When Beth and I got married, we decided to go to France on our honeymoon. 

After spending a few days in Paris, we rented a car and headed down to the south of France.  We made a pit-stop at the picturesque hilltop village of Les Baux-de-Provence.  Then headed for the beach, the French Riviera, where we swam in the Mediterranean sun.  Along the way, I learned to appreciate French culture, and especially French wine.  

  When we got home, I did some research.  I wanted to learn about the different kinds of wine.  Gradually, I learned to navigate my way through those intimidating restaurant wine lists with the huge variety of wines from different countries.  I began to get a sense for what different grapes tasted like, which ones I liked and which ones I didn’t. 

Then I got curious about how wine is made.  This is when things got really interesting.  It turns out that the earliest wine was made 8,000 years ago when stone-age farmers in the country of Georgia harvested grapes from the hillsides sloping down from the Caucasus mountains to the Black Sea.  The things that produced good wine way back then have not changed all that much over the years.  

There are two fundamental factors that go into making great wine.  You can think of these as nature and nurture.  The nature component is what wine-makers call “terroir”.  That means the kind of soil, the climate, and even the other plants growing around the vineyard, all of which influence the quality of the wine.

The second factor is vintage.  Vintage means all the things that the wine maker does, choosing the kind of grapes to plant, pruning the vines, irrigating and treating the soil, managing pests and deciding when to harvest the grapes and how to ferment them.

So, you have terroir and vintage.  But, when it comes to making great wine, many would argue there is also another factor:  the age of the vines.  Older vines make better wine.  There’s a reason for that.  As they age, the vines produce less fruit.  But the fruit they do produce is richer and more flavorful because they have deep roots that draw nourishment from the ground.

The same thing is true of us as Christians.  And I think Jesus may have had this in mind when he told his disciples, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” 

The only way we bear fruit is if we abide in him.  When we do, we glorify God.  This is what Jesus meant when he said, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

The way Jesus sees it, discipleship is fundamentally about one thing:  love.  “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.”  His message to his disciples is his Word to you and me.

Love is the starting point for the journey that you and I begin today.  Today is the first Sunday in the Season of Commitment.  The milestones we will mark on this 5-week journey are those 5 values that our Session and our Committees have discerned as essential for becoming the kind of faithful congregation God intends us to be. 

If we are willing to trust them and live by them – to make decisions according to them – these values will lead us to become a grace-filled family of faith sharing Christ’s love with all.

Each Sunday in this Season of Commitment we will focus on one of these values.  We begin today with our first and foremost value:  to glorify God in all we do.  Jesus wants us to know that faithful discipleship is what glorifies God.  So, then the question is what does faithful discipleship look like?

Jesus doesn’t tell us that.  He doesn’t say, “OK, listen up:  Faithful discipleship consists of the following ten things.”  Wouldn’t it be a lot easier if he did?  Then again, maybe not.

Wasn’t that what the law was all about?  Those 613 commandments and statues that defined righteousness in black and white, the laundry list of things that made God’s people acceptable in his sight – or not. 

But God’s people couldn’t keep the law.  And as a result, the law, instead of being an instrument of God’s grace, became the means of their condemnation.

So, instead, Jesus tells his disciples not what constitutes faithful discipleship but, rather, what produces it.  What produces God-pleasing discipleship is making sure we stay rooted in Jesus.  He is the vine.  We are the branches. 

He is the source of our nourishment, our energy, and our growth.  Jesus is the source of our life.  The fruit we bear is only possible because we are rooted in him.  The love we show others is only possible because of the love he shows us.

That’s the message Jesus wants us to take home today.  He wants us to internalize it – to live by it.  Discipleship is the product of love.  What we do out of love for God and for others is what glorifies God.

What that means is that it’s not worship per se that glorifies God – it’s worship that is rooted in love for God.  It’s not any old mission work that glorifies God, it’s mission work motivated by the love for others.  It’s not visiting the sick and caring for the dying that glorifies God, it’s caring for them out of love.

In short, motivation matters.  When our motive is love, there is no greater power on this earth.   

Now, I could preach that message to you.  But I think I’d rather let someone else do that:
 

The power of love is a curious thing
Make one man weep, make another man sing
Change a hawk to a little white dove
More than a feeling, that's the power of love.

Tougher than diamonds, rich like cream
Stronger and harder than a bad girl's dream
Make a bad one good, make a wrong one right
Power of love will keep you home at night.

You don't need money, don't take fame
Don't need no credit card to ride this train
It's strong and it's sudden and it's cruel sometimes
But it might just save your life
That's the power of love.
 

Huey Lewis is a committed Christian and you can hear it in his lyrics.  He understands that love is what moves us to bear the fruit that God finds pleasing, the fruit of discipleship that becomes great wine, because it’s rooted in the oldest vine of all, the original vine – the Christ vine.

Like the old vines, as we age, we may bear less fruit, but the fruit we bear will be sweeter.  The love will be purer.  And the wine we make will be greater.

So the question is “Where in our lives can we bear this fruit of love?”  I don’t know about you, but I often get caught up in the busyness of life. I have my to-do list and I just want to make my way through it.  I forget to think about the reason I do these things.

I wonder if the same thing is true of us as a congregation.  What might happen if we focused more on our motivation for all the things we do here at SSPC?  We would probably do less of some things and more of others. 

What if we understood better the depth and strength of God’s love in Jesus Christ, and were more intentional about sharing that love in worship, in mission, in fellowship, in caring for one another?  How would that change what we do?

Huey Lewis gives us the answer:

. . . You know what to do
When it gets hold of you
And with a little help from above
You feel the power of love.

That’s how we glorify God.  That is how we become a grace-filled family of faith sharing Christ’ love with all.

May it be so. 

Last Published: October 4, 2021 10:24 AM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

October 2021


October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2021


April 25, 2021  "Love Actually, Part II: Love in Action" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 18, 2021  "Love Actually, Part I: Love and Family" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

Easter, April 4, 2021  "How Does It End?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2021


March 28, 2021  "The King We Weren't Expecting" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 14, 2021  "The Cure for Snake Bite" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2021


February 28, 2021  "Are you Kidding, God?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 14, 2021  "Premature Joy" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 7, 2021  "Need a Liftt?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

January 2021


January 31, 2021  "Are You God's Prophet?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 24, 2021  "God's Annoying Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 10, 2021  "Light to See" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 3, 2021  "The Outsiders' Perspective" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2020


December 24, 2020  "Light in the Darkness" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 20, 2020  "Are you a Royal?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 6, 2020  "While You're Waiting..." by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2020


November 15, 2020  "Accepting Your Mission" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 1, 2020  "The Hope of the Saints" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2020


October 18, 2020  "Whose Image Do You Bear?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 11, 2020  "Righteous Clothing" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2020


September 13, 2020  "The Circle of Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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